Walgreens' March sales jump

Front-end sales increase despite later Easter

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday reported March sales of $6.3 billion, an increase of 7.6%. Duane Reade stores, acquired in April 2010, contributed 280 basis points to the total sales increase for the month.

Total front-end sales increased 8.4% in March, including 470 basis points from Duane Reade stores. Despite the negative impact of this year’s later Easter, which falls on April 24 compared with April 4 last year, comparable-store front-end sales increased 1.6%. Customer traffic in comparable stores increased 0.8%, while basket size increased 0.8%.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 3.5% in March. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 90 basis points.

March pharmacy sales increased 7.3%, while comparable-pharmacy sales increased 3.7%. Comparable-pharmacy sales were impacted negatively by 230 basis points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months. Pharmacy sales accounted for 66.4% of total sales for the month.

Sales in comparable stores for the month increased 3%. Duane Reade stores are not included in any comparable-store results. Walgreens will report combined comparable-store sales for March and April with its April sales results.

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